Susannah Nevison is the author of Lethal Theater (forthcoming from Ohio State University Press in 2019), and Teratology (Persea Books, 2015).
Molly McCully Brown is the author of The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded (Persea Books, 2017). Beginning fall 2018, she will be an Amy Lowell Fellow.
Post-Op Letters in the Field Between Us
There’s a whole wild species of things
I don’t know how to name, so instead
I say pain is an engine that stalls
the harder I push it or it’s the stone
in my mouth I can’t quite seem
to spit out. I’m not waiting
for someone else to tell me
what I’m missing. I know numbness
is a quiet fire, a night in, a call again
tomorrow. M, I know sometimes
I go missing, dark, a lightless stretch
of road, so I spit the road out
as I go. What I’m missing isn’t
a map, but the means to call again
tomorrow. What I’m missing is
a picture where the table’s set
and all the versions of ourselves
sit down to eat, and when we open
our mouths, no roads or stones fall out.
It’s fall now, but this city doesn’t know it
yet, and I don’t know this city. Half the nights
I still start awake in the dark as the bus sputters
past or a coyote that’s not there yowls out
where I was dreaming. Half the nights I don’t
know my body when I wake to it, and there
is grief in the returning and remembering
pain, familiar as a fist I know.
In the morning, I wake and my body
wears bruises I don’t remember making.
Did it take off without me, board a bus
from this new city looking for home,
or glamour, or you? I wouldn’t rule it out,
my body’s always wished it were wilder.
S, maybe that’s why we’re always hearing
howling in the distance, always spitting out stones
and road from somewhere else. In the morning,
I call you and we compare mysteries: what
do you make of it? Where do you think you went
– first published in diode